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Capital Punishment and Personal Rights & Freedoms #TurkeysNewJourney

Capital Punishment and Personal Rights & Freedoms <a class="hashtagger" href="">#TurkeysNewJourney</a>

Here we go again with the calls for the Capital Punishment to be brought back into Turkish justice system once again.

Though it has not -yet- found its way into the daily political agenda, there is a widespread wielding of crimes against minors being used as a propaganda tool for its comeback.

It goes without saying that, rape, assault, child pornography and similar crimes must be punished accordingly with no avenues for remission. Carrying out the punishments for these crimes must be absolute; criminals have to serve their full time as the criminal law mandates.

We could even go further and enact laws that will permit chemical or physical castration as a punishment. The punishment, perhaps, should be more than a payback for the crime: it must be utterly deterrent. Capital punishment, however, must not be an option. It will only serve to make things more complicated. A state must not be permitted to take a life. We have already suffered so much because of arbitrary executions in the past. We must not forget what was done to the youth -from both ends of the political spectrum, during the September 12 coup and its aftermath.

Remember that capital punishment was abolished after the worst villain of this country was captured and sentenced to death. It might have been a step taken in order to satisfy the EU adjustment law stipulations, but that doesn’t matter now. The three headed coalition helmed by Ecevit and the ensuing AKP government deserve full credit for this honorable act. We must not step back now, and resort back to punishment methods that are old, primitive and revenge-based.

Missing children are a big problem. Murdered, raped children are our common pain and shame. The state, as well as the public, must be held to high standards in how they perform their responsibilities towards children. Families must take better care of their offspring so that there is zero space for negligence for such crimes to occur.

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The most prudent way to deal with this problem is private and organized education. We cannot simply end child cruelty with simply restoring capital punishment -particularly in a society such as ours in which ignorance still runs amok, and people follow the decrees of sheiks and hojas and look for an identity among religious sects.

I wonder how many of our sons and daughters are victims of blind fanaticism and ignorance. I wonder what percentage of rape incidents against minors and domestic violence are even reported. Concepts such as personal rights and freedoms, sexual preferences, total claim of one’s own body can only be understood and realized with proper education, and the unyielding support of the political elite. The issue here is not simply minors, it is respect for human life and struggle for a humane life.

The notion that we can end all cruelty against children by reinstating capital punishment is misguided and will not solve anything.

You might say, the toughest punishment possible may solve the problem. Then again, we may solve the problem of education by getting rid of it completely. With no education, there will not be a problem with education. We cannot even use this analogy for capital punishment. The governor of Kayseri and Ankara, and the minister are under the illusion that this is the way out. It is not!

What is to be done for the public order in our cities? The number of burglaries, theft, and assaults are on meteoric rise. What will we do then? Hang the thieves?

How saddening it is to have swayed from Hz. Omar’s understanding of compassion which “cares for the well being of a lamb on the banks of Euphrates” to a position to say “Hang/shoot and be done with it!”

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We are expecting a new government very soon. There will be fewer number of ministries, this or that person will become the minister of this or that… rumors are dime a dozen. Okay, but what will change? Will our children be protected better? Will they be able to maintain the order and safety of the communities in our cities?

Education is the first step to solve all our problems. WE may talk about the pros and cons of different systems, whether it be this many years plus this many years, or a direct implementation of Finish educational system. IT will not make a dent in overcoming our problems as long as the general education level of the society does not increase, and people do not read more, do not attend more social and artistic events more, and instead choose to go after a blind faith perpetrated by irresponsible religious sects. Yesterday it was Fethullah and other malign organizations, today we have others coming and coiling themselves upon us.

So, a new government and a new presidential system is about to begin. That’s what the nation asked for, so there we have it, whether we like it or not. Fine, but will our problems be dealt with? Probably not -as long as we insist on the same old mentality. What difference can it make under these conditions if you have Bahceli, Aksener or Ince as the president?

About The Author

Yusuf Kanli

Born in Cyprus in 1959, Yusuf Kanlı is a graduate of the English Language and Literature Department of the Faculty of Letters of the Ankara University. He started journalism with the Turkish Daily News in 1978. Until he briefly left the paper in 1985 (for military service in Northern Cyprus) he served as diplomatic correspondent, assistant foreign news editor and assistant editor. During this period he was as well one of the two co-authors of an annual reference book on Turkey, “Turkey Almanac”. After completing his military service he returned the Daily News as assistant editor. In 1989 he became executive editor and also started writing daily opinion articles. He continued to be one of the co-authors of the “Turkey Almanac” annual reference book. In February 1993, over differences with the publisher on editorial policy, he quit the paper and joined the Anatolia News Agency (AA) as deputy foreign news chief. He stayed with the Anatolia News Agency until September 1995. In this period, he covered the Armenia-Azerbaijan war over Nogorno-Karabagh, covered developments in the post-independence Central Asian republics. Because of his refusal as the duty editor to run a manipulated news story demanded by the then lady prime minister of the country, he was fired from the AA, a development that Kanlı considers as his “medal of honor” in the profession. On his return to the Daily News for a third time in October 1995, he first became an editor at large but soon assumed the responsibility of electronic publishing and established Turkey’s first daily updated English language news web site, the TDN Online on May 19, 1996 (now In January 1997, he became executive editor of the Daily News for a second time and stayed in that post until he was appointed as editor-in-chief in June 2004. In February 2007, he quit all executive duties and became a contract columnist of the newspaper. He has been also writing weekly articles in Turkish for a variety of newspapers and news portals in Northern Cyprus. He is a former chairperson and the honorary chairperson of Diplomacy Correspondents Association (DMD) of Turkey, an active member of Association of Foreign Policy Council, a member of the executive board and vice chairperson of the Association of Journalists and coordinator of the Press for Freedom project, which has been monitoring and reporting on press and freedom of expression issues in Turkey since 2013. He has been a member of several associations and foundations, mostly established by Turkish Cypriots living in Turkey or abroad. He is married to Dr. Aydan Kanlı and has one daughter, Cansu. He has Turkish, Turkish Cypriot and Cypriot triple nationality.

1 Comment

  1. Mike T

    When the ruling-class and students throughout the world review the latest research on the science of rights, perhaps, one day the world will be a better place to live.


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